So yesterday I wrote about how I HATED the cover image and the title (Are You Mom Enough?) of the piece in TIME about Attachment Parenting and extended breastfeeding (the cover image is included in yesterday’s post). I still hate the cover image and the title (oh, that title!). I still hate that TIME is trying to make AP and extended breastfeeding look as weird and sensational as possible. I still hate the implications of the title (as if AP and extended breastfeeding are only for women who are extreme and trying to prove something to other parents through their parenting choices instead of making decisions about what’s right for their children because they love them).
So, not thrilled with TIME. That being said. I was shocked at some of the personal attacks on the mother in the cover image (Jamie Lynne Grumet). I’ve seen the image called pornographic (oh, please), and even, bizarrely, the willingness to feature her three-year-old nursing on the cover as a form of child abuse and the mother as a self-absorbed exhibitionist. REALLY? COME ON.
I so wish that TIME had used this image on the cover instead of the hand-on-the-hip-nursing-while-standing one:
Photo credit: Martin Schoeller for TIME
Isn’t that beautiful? The way she’s cradling him. The look of proud, glowing love. I think it’s gorgeous. Why, oh, why, didn’t they use this picture instead of choosing one that makes extended breastfeeding look as weird as possible?
I was also shocked to see what some of the articles and comments were saying about attachment parenting. I read The Baby Book by Dr. Sears when I was pregnant with Benjamin. We don’t really label ourselves attachment parents because we are constantly altering our methods to do what’s best for our family at the current time. But I co-sleep, baby wear, breastfeed Lucy (exclusively for 6 months on demand, no pacifiers, no bottles, serious business), and am really never separated from her (I even take her to the ballet studio when I go to work and pay a babysitter to hold her so she is close by and can nurse before and after class). I don’t think this is the only way to parent. I have dear friends who have very different methods and very happy, thriving babies. But, for several reasons, I think an attachment style can be a very good thing.
First of all, it creates a family-centered life. In order to implement many of the AP tenets, families have to be together. I think it also places great value on motherhood itself (something that, sadly, isn’t typical in our culture). Only the mama can provide breastmilk for her baby. She is necessary, special, important. Also, AP promotes the idea that a mother’s instincts should not be ignored. Respect for a mother’s intuition about what her baby needs is encouraged by AP. That’s not to say that every mother always does what’s best for her baby at all times, but in general (and from my own experience) I think a mother’s instinct about her baby is almost always right. I think it’s very positive to promote the idea that a mother should know her baby and should be the one making choices about how to care for them.
So, there it is. At least that cover is making us talk about these important issues, right?
Would you like to chime in? Does this other photograph give you a different perspective?